Blighted by a pro-independence war to the west, Boko Haram incursions to the north as well as climate change, all of which have been compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, Cameroon faces a stiff path to meeting its humanitarian needs.
And the 2021 neglected crises report by the Norwegian Refugee Service makes these issues more evident, ranking Cameroon in the third position when it comes to the world’s most neglected crises.
“The crises left 4.4 million people in need of humanitarian support – almost half of whom had previously been uprooted from their homes. Violence and displacement drove up hunger levels, leaving almost 10 per cent of the population food-insecure by the end of the year,” the report states.
It explains that in the English-speaking regions, growing insecurity and abuses against civilians forced people to flee in search of safety.
“Attacks on teachers, schools and health facilities continued, leaving 700,000 children unable to go to school.”
In the Far North region, violence and attacks significantly hampered humanitarian efforts and access to people in need.
In addition, droughts and flooding led to resource shortages, which deepened existing insecurities and drove further displacement.
The report also talks about increases in the number of refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) which put more pressure on local communities,
And even as these crises worsen, a lack of media coverage, lack of political engagement and international attention have resulted in stagnating funding, inflicting more pain on the people.
The ranking saw the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) top the chart, followed by Burkina Faso. Of the 41 crises classified, the first ten were in Africa.
“That the world’s most neglected crises are all in Africa points to the chronic failure of decision-makers, donors, and the media to address conflict and human suffering on this continent,” said Jan Egeland, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, launching the report Monday.
“With the all-absorbing war in Europe’s Ukraine, I fear African suffering will be pushed further into the shadows.”
“The war in Ukraine has demonstrated the immense gap between what is possible when the international community rallies behind a crisis, and the daily reality for millions of people suffering in silence within these crises on the African continent that the world has chosen to ignore,” said Egeland.
“It is not only unjust – this bias also comes with a tremendous cost. Lives that could have been saved are lost. Conflicts are being allowed to become protracted crises and devastate the hopes of generations of people for a better future,” he said,